Apart from the basic reasons that one may put up a world map on their bedroom wall (i.e. the fact that I simply like world maps), I keep a world map in my room because I think it’s important to remind ourselves that we are not as important as we think we are. We get so caught up and consumed by our lives and the smallest details within it that we forget that what we know, what we see and how we see it isn’t all there is. We forget that, amongst the infinite number of living organisms on earth, we, in the eyes of the universe, are very very small. By this, then,does this not mean that the details of our lives are further microscopic; insignificant, essentially? This is of course looking at things from a zoomed out perspective and it is of course natural that as humans, our life and its contents is far more significant to us as it is all we’ve ever known. But I think this zoomed out perspective is necessary sometimes, for the sake of both yourself and other humans.
What I mean is, since, through this zoomed out perspective, the details of your being are insignificant (technically speaking) then this of course means that your everyday negative experiences, however large you feel them to be, are technically not as large, or strong, as you see or feel. This comes with the fact that as humans we have volatile emotions; different ones come and go, rise and surrender, fade and reappear – making this notion that our everyday negative experiences are insignificant further so, and this is based on the fact that nothing in our lives is permanent, including the life itself.
I know this post has a kind of nihilistic nature (unintended) but I’m just trying to bring to light the fact that sometimes, we just need to zoom out a little. You can zoom in to positive things in your life as much as you like because I think that’s what life is all about (ok corny) but when it comes to the weight of negative things, I think it’s good to look at your life from a broader perspective. I say this because I think that, often, when bad things happen in our lives we forget about all the good and the negativity of the current period of our lives blinds us. We forget that our life is a lot more than the negative experience that we are currently going through and the vast scope of the earth can be paralleled with this. Ultimately, there is a lot more to see.
Being still, doing absolutely nothing and being content with it (no, I don’t mean sleeping.) is an art we all need to learn. Phones, TVs and laptops switched off; the only things with us our thoughts and feelings.
Society today underrates the practice and power of the simplest form of being. This makes this art harder for some to learn than others, but we’re all capable of it.
Once you learn it but most importantly, feel comfortable with it, you’ll gain an invaluable power that will accompany you throughout your life. This power is built on the feeling of enoughness and beside this, simplicity, both of which I believe are the keys to a happy life.
il bel far niente // “the beauty of doing nothing”
I used to sometimes forget this and I know that others do, too. Looking at yourself in a way that you think others may see you or basing your self-worth on another’s judgment of you takes so much from what you are. It takes away that sacred power that we all have within us and puts it in the hands of someone else.
If no one told you you’re intelligent or good-looking, or whatever else, would you still think you’re intelligent or good-looking? Or would you not think of yourself as someone with those qualities, because no one said it to you? Sadly enough, for many people, the answer here, whether they realise it or not, is no. Why do you give the power to other people to tell you what to believe about yourself? Don’t get me wrong, people complimenting you is great and I for one, am somebody that appreciates it very much. Sure, it does boost your confidence. But placing too much importance on other people’s opinion of you is not healthy at all. This applies whether what they think of you is positive or negative. First and foremost, the basis of your confidence lies within YOU and what YOU think of yourself. This way, people’s approval and compliments towards you is simply a bonus.
There’s a quote that I like that kind of pertains to what I’m saying:
“They [people] know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn’t you. That isn’t you at all.” – Leila Sales
Don’t allow others to mould you into their perception of you. You are the only one that truly knows yourself and all your qualities and capabilities. You are your own exclusive sculptor. Withhold that power.
This sabotaging trade deal of disregarding who we really are in our desire for approval from mainstream society is super prevalent among individuals of today’s society and in my eyes, appears much like an epidemic. A huge factor in this is the big increase in social media usage in recent years. Social media provides a platform for people to gain ideas on what most people like and dislike, their interests, what’s ‘normal’ and what isn’t and last but definitely not least, beauty ideals which tell people exactly how a perfectly attractive man or woman should look and be like. Social media therefore creates shared ideas on these different aspects and strips society of the individuality, rawness and unique qualities that each individual has the potential to offer to society. People hold back for fear of not being accepted or ridiculed for their ideas. We hold back because it’s not what we know society wants to see or hear so we simply don’t express it and instead express a persona that aligns with society’s expectations. This way society is devoid of genuine expression, of new ideas and new perspectives; ideas and perspectives that potentially hold the key to advancement and to greatness.
As history tells us, the great were always people who defied society, projected a new perspective into it and disregarded their fear of the consequences of their defiance. For example, Mahatma Ghandi who went as far as sacrificing his life through a hunger strike in his call for peace and fight against British imperialism, Rosa Parks who stood against racism by defying authority and refusing to sit at the back of the bus, and a final modern example – President Bashar Al Assad, who, despite mainstream media’s portrayal of him as a vicious dictator and the continuous baseless shunning by the vast majority of the world and powerful governments, remains perfectly sturdy and committed to protecting the citizens of his country, disregarding the opinions of others on him and continuing to do what is right. To be honest with you, I was hesitant to include that last example because of the controversy it carries, but I then thought to myself: why can others freely give their opinions (which of course align with the opinions of the majority) whilst I feel I must remain quiet due to my less popular perspective? Although political stances are not exactly measures of authenticity, the degree of commitment in expressing a different/minority view and ‘taking the road less taken’ is.
So, my point here is that as hard as you may feel it is to resist social pressures, whether this may be regarding your genuine feelings about certain topics, music taste, your genuine interests, the way you dress and a seemingly more recent phenomenon- how expensive your makeup is, within us all there is a sanctuary wherein our genuine self lives; this is when we are alone with our own thoughts, away from our phones where we are blinded by the opinions and lifestyles of others, and away from the expectations of family. If you one day decide to let free the contents of your sanctuary into the outside world, piece by piece and day by day, then, and only then, will you truly be living.